In Germany at least nine years of compulsory schooling applies to children turning six up to September 30. Enrollment normally takes place in March/April every year as a rule, and is announced in the official gazette of your municipality and in the daily newspaper.
Whichever school you choose for your child: Bavarian educational institutions enjoy an excellent reputation.
The school system differentiates between primary school, “Grundschule”, and three forms of secondary school, “Mittelschule, Realschule and Gymnasium”, as well as special schools. The overwhelming majority of schools are public schools, and consequently your children can attend for free. There are also private and international schools available to you, however these require the payment of fees.
Primary School (Grundschule) comprises First to Fourth Class. The basic skills in Reading, Arithmetic and Writing are imparted here, as well as values and attitudes, and learning and social competencies. Many primary schools have also instituted after-school care staffed by pedagogically trained personnel. In their after-school care club, children take part in leisure activities and complete a large part of their school homework. This is of great help especially for working parents.
According to the quality of the grades your child receives in primary school, you can decide in consultation with the school which type of school your child will attend from Fifth Class.
The Hauptschule high school was developed into the Mittelschule high school in Bavaria, and features wide-ranging educational opportunities in the occupationally oriented areas of Technology, Economics and Society, and leads to the School-Leaving Certificate. It builds upon the knowledge taught in primary school and provides care for school students between Fifth and Ninth Grade, or until Tenth Grade for classes preparing for the Certificate of General Secondary Education.
The Mittelschule high school provides a basic general education and is very practically oriented in order to prepare students for the demands of their future work. The school degrees it offers opens up all possibilities for professional training or continuing educational programs. The Mittelschule high school offers the following school degrees: the Certificate of General Secondary Education and the Qualifying Lower Certificate of Secondary Education (Quali) in Ninth Grade.
The Realschule high school comprises Grades 5 to 10 and imparts an informed general education as well as basics for further professional or academic training. Lessons in the Realschule high school place equal emphasis on imparting theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. The Realschule high school provides the preconditions for further academic educational programs all the way up to higher education entrance qualification.
The Gymnasium high school imparts a detailed general education to students from Fifth to Twelfth Grade and prepares them for demanding professional training or for enrollment in university. The Gymnasium high school offers a broad program of subjects, relevant to all areas of professional training, that contains in equal measure component subjects from the Humanities, the Sciences as well as the Social Sciences and Sport.
Every student must study at least two foreign languages. Instruction in the first compulsory foreign language begins in Grade 5, in the second in Grade 6, and in a third (only at languages Gymnasium high schools) in Grade 8.
By passing the Abitur-examination at the end of their twelfth year of school, students of the Gymnasium high school achieve higher education entrance qualification (Abitur). With this degree, students have access to all tertiary schools and universities in Germany.
Special-needs schools are an alternative place of learning to general schooling. They teach children and young adults who require special pedagogical teaching. This applies in large part to school students who are not sufficiently supported at general or vocational schools and therefore attend special school as a center of special pedagogical expertise. As a rule, school degrees awarded at special school centers are equivalent to those of a Mittelschule high school.
Besides German students International Schools also teach foreign students temporarily residing in Germany.
Teachers at the private bilingual primary school in Bayreuth work according to the example of Maria Montessori in conjunction with the Bavarian syllabus and a bilingual teaching method from Grade 1 onwards. English is gradually developed as the language of instruction, in order to allow for a transition to any type German or English school after Grade 4.
Children and teenagers who come to Germany during their school days often need special support. There are preparatory, special education and language classes available to them, led by specially qualified teaching staff, before joining regular school classes. To find out exactly what is available to your child, contact the Youth Migration Service (JMD), which assists teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12 and 27 with a migrant background.
At school, the first port of call for teachers and school students in questions of schooling is the class teacher or school administration.
In Bavaria there is furthermore the institution of school counseling, which helps the school student to recognize their talents, make use of their abilities and to take advantage of the full scope of educational opportunities. It arranges help when problems arise in school, and supports parents and teachers in providing a good upbringing and education. School counseling is available in all types of school, is neutral, confidential, and voluntary and free of charge to those seeking advice.